It's everybody's worst nightmare: finally seeing a doctor about something you thought was harmless, only to be told that you have cancer and it's too late to save yourself. Sometimes the tiniest things can be signs of something more sinister going on inside your body, and it's crucial that you catch them in their early stages. You may not be able to prevent yourself from getting cancer, but you can certainly get to the doctor as soon as you see the signs.
Don't Freak Out
It's important not to stress out thinking that every change in your body might be cancer. Get to learn the specific signs and you'll know when something is really wrong. Whatever you do, do not count on the internet to help you out with a diagnosis. If you have a genuine concern, book an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible.
What Is Cancer?
According to the National Institute of Health, cancer occurs when "the body's cells begin to divide without stopping and spread into surrounding tissues." While normal cells mature and develop specific functions, cancer cells don't, and they simply continue to divide without stopping. The mass of cells will continue to grow, which is why most cancers will reveal a telltale lump.
A Cough That Won't Go Away
One of the signs that many people don't associate with cancer is a persistent cough that doesn't seem to go away. This may appear to be a common cold or allergies at first, but if the cough continues over time with zero improvements, it could be a sign that you have cancer. Get to your doctor as soon as possible if this the case.
This is the cancer symptom we're all familiar with, but many people still forget to do regular checks to make sure they have the all-clear. If you notice a lump that wasn't there before, get it checked out immediately. Anyone with breasts should also make sure they're actively checking them every few months for surprise lumps.
Unexplained Weight Loss
If you've changed your diet or lifestyle recently, it could be a perfectly reasonable explanation for why you've lost a little weight. Sometimes stressful environments and certain medications could also be to blame. But if you notice you're losing weight and there's nothing that has triggered it, it might be something serious, such as a thyroid problem, HIV/AIDS, or cancer.
Blood Where It's Not Supposed To Be
If you find yourself experiencing unexplained bleeding from unusual parts of your body, it could be a sign of cancer. Dark blood in your poop could indicate bowel or rectal cancer, while coughing up blood could be a sign of lung cancer. If you're not menstruating and you're experiencing vaginal bleeding, it could mean cervical or uterine cancer.
Strange Toilet Problems
While we're on the topic of poop, it's best we mention that anything weird in your toilet bowl could be a symptom of bowel or rectal cancer. Keep an eye on it, especially if your poop is black in color. If urinating has become painful for you and you've ruled out urinary tract infections and other kidney problems, it could be a sign of bladder cancer.
A common symptom of all cancers is a fatigue that doesn't go away, no matter how much sleep you're getting. Bear in mind that if you've just had a baby, are going through a stressful time, have depression, or have changed your lifestyle in any way, it could just be normal for now. If the fatigue is completely unexplainable, get to your doctor now.
Swollen Lymph Nodes
You can find your lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, and groin. Sometimes, they become swollen due to things like bacterial infections, measles, STIs, and other infections. However, if you notice that your lymph nodes are swollen for no reason, or that they haven't returned to normal size within four to six weeks after one of the reasons above, it's time to see your doctor.
We all know that feeling of a cold approaching in winter time: it starts with a few sniffles, and next comes the scratchy feeling in our throats that makes it painful and difficult to swallow. If you're having trouble swallowing, but you're not experiencing any other signs of a cold or other common bacterial or viral infection, it could be a sign of cancer.
This symptom is such a tricky one, as heartburn can be caused by a whole bunch of different conditions. Sometimes even a little too much chili sauce on your burrito will be enough to set it off. Heartburn can also be a sign of throat, stomach, and ovarian cancer, so work with your doctor to figure out what might be causing yours.
It's so important to examine your breasts regularly for lumps, which could be a sign of breast cancer. But what many people don't realize is that you also have to keep an eye out for other changes, such as skin dimpling, a change in skin color or texture, discharge or blood leaking from the nipples, or other changes in the nipples, such as inversion.
The sneaky thing about testicular cancer is that 90 percent of people who are diagnosed report feeling zero pain or discomfort. This is why it's so important to examine your downtown area every couple of months to make sure there are no telltale lumps. With testicular cancer, it's unlikely that some other symptom will be the one to notify you.
Changes In A Freckle Or Mole
Skin cancer is a quick killer if you develop melanoma, which can cause death within six months. Checking your freckles and moles is essential, especially if you have fair skin, spend a lot of time in the sun, or just have a lot of moles. Take photos every few months so you can monitor changes and don't forget to have your partner or a friend check your back.
Headaches That Aren't Your Normal
Experiencing one little headache isn't a reason to head to the emergency room, but if you're noticing persistent headaches that don't feel like normal tension headaches or other types of headaches that you're used to, it could be something serious. Most brain tumors are accompanied by headaches, followed by seizures, nausea, problems with peripheral vision, and weakened limbs.
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